The FA Cup fifth round is due to take place this weekend, with a couple of big ties.
The weekend of football kicks off on Friday night as Premier League Watford travel to Championship QPR. Saturday’s games start with Frank Lampard’s Derby looking to make their first quarter-final for 20 years vs. Brighton. At 3pm AFC Wimbledon will look to repeat their giant killing heroics as they take on Millwall before Saturday night sees the mismatch of the tournament with all-conquering Manchester City facing off against tiny Newport County at Rodney Parade.
Sunday starts with Bristol taking on Wolves before Premier League side Crystal Palace travels lower down the football pyramid to take on Doncaster, before Swansea host Brentford to end the weekend. The round is completed by the biggest match on Monday night as holders Chelsea take-on Manchester United in a rematch of last year’s final.
We’ve had a look at the fixtures and come up with predictions:
QPR vs. Watford
QPR are in wretched form having won just once in their last seven matches. Watford don’t fare much better and are struggling to score goals, but should have just enough to see off the London side. 0-1 Watford.
PLAYER TO WATCH: José Holebas has created 32 chances this season. Only Lucas Digne (46) and Kieran Trippier (36) have more.
Brighton vs. Derby
Brighton are in a tailspin and needed a replay and extra time to see off West Brom in the last round. Frank Lampard’s Derby are unbeaten in six matches and should comfortably beat the Premier League side to make their first quarter-final since 1999. 1-2 Derby.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Harry Wilson has scored seven of his 10 goals from outside the box; the most in the Championship.
AFC Wimbledon vs. Millwall
Millwall’s win over Everton is their only victory in the last six games, and whilst they still have the superior quality to an up-and-down AFC Wimbledon, you wouldn’t want to rule out the lower league side after their heroics against West Ham and their morale-boosting win over Walsall at the weekend. Expect them to take advantage of the lack of a replay to sneak a win. 1-1 AET, Wimbledon win on pens.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Lee Gregory has more goals than anyone else for Millwall (seven) this season and opened the scoring in the 3-2 win over Everton in the last round.
Newport County vs. Manchester City
Newport are giant killers extraordinaire and have gone one better than last season where they fell in the fourth round, but they will go no further as they find themselves facing the Manchester City juggernaut. 1-5 City.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Sergio Aguero has scored two hat-tricks in his last three games for Manchester City and has seven in his last 10 domestic cup matches too.
Bristol vs. Wolves
Bristol haven’t lost a home match since the start of November and they’ve won their last six consecutive fixtures at Ashton Gate. They will give Wolves one hell of a reception and just about steal a win. 2-1 Bristol AET.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Matt Doherty has scored three goals in the last two FA Cup outings for Wolves.
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Doncaster vs. Crystal Palace
Doncaster have lost just thrice in their last 20 games and will be confident that they can knock Crystal Palace out, but Roy Hodgson will have his side set-up too solidly to allow that. The game-changing talents of Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend will win the day. 1-3 Palace.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been Palace’s most consistent player this season; no one has won more tackles than he has (96) in the Premier League so far this season.
Swansea vs. Brentford
Brentford’s attacking approach saw them smash Blackburn in the last round and one can see them shocking Swansea here to make the quarter-finals. The Welsh side are four points ahead in the Championship, but the cup should be a great leveller. 1-2 Brentford.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Oliver McBurnie has scored 16 times so far this season, which is 11 more than his side’s second-top scorer.
Chelsea vs. Manchester United
After their humiliating defeat against PSG, Manchester United will be itching to bounce back against a dysfunctional and confidence-less Chelsea side. Injuries could slow them down but expect caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to stake a big claim for the permanent job by leading his side to a Fergie-esque bounce-back. 1-2 United.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Paul Pogba has eight goals and five assists since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as manager and will be out to make up for his red card against PSG.